A new wave of classroom pioneers - Education Matters Magazine

A new wave of classroom pioneers

Five inspirational teachers from New South Wales have been chosen as part of The Learning Edge, a state-wide search for the most creative digital educators. With the support of Google Australia, they are set to engage an even bigger audience online.

A joint initiative by Teachers Mutual Bank and the NSW Department of Education, The Learning Edge was launched in May in a bid to find extraordinary teachers inspiring students beyond the classroom, and equip them with access to digital experts, tools, and training.

Some of those digital experts include leading content specialists from YouTube, with Google Australia supporting the project by hosting the five teachers at its Sydney headquarters for an exclusive workshop, to upskill and help build their presence as engaging online educators.

Teachers Mutual Bank General Manager Alan Waugh said organisers were thrilled to see such a strong groundswell of interest in the project from teachers, parents, and principals who want to see digital skills in their schools.

“As a longstanding supporter of Aussie teachers, we have been amazed by the quality of entries and the calibre of innovation seen in teaching across the state as part of The Learning Edge initiative,” he said.

“The extent to which NSW teachers went to record their video entries for this competition showed that many are already going the extra mile for their students, utilising digital platforms like YouTube to create and share their lessons and bringing their insights from the physical into the virtual classroom.”

The five chosen recipients of The Learning Edge teacher search are:

  • Nayomi Gribble, Visual Arts teacher, Condell Park High School: Nayomi brings robotics and visual arts together to encourage students to work in a 21stcentury context. She currently creates her own YouTube tutorials which allow students to become active learners as they move at their own pace.
  • Emily McLachlan, PDHPE teacher, Chatswood High School: Emily developed a ‘Run Around Australia’ PDHPE challenge at Chatswood High which, through the use of technology and social media, is now implemented in more than 60 schools across the state.
  • Holly Millican, Mathematics teacher, South Grafton High School: With a mission to make maths fun, Holly uses games, team-based learning and interactive techniques to better engage students in a universally challenging subject.
  • Sam Coburn, Geography teacher, Maitland Grossmann High School: Sam began using online tools and digital when based at an isolated school in outback NSW and now has her own YouTube channel, Geography Explained, which she uses to further her student’s learning beyond the classroom, with positive results.
  • Jonathan Kim Sing, Mathematics teacher, Galston High School: Jonathan uses games, interactive learning and demonstrations to bring maths to life.

“To work with YouTube and potentially extend my influence as a teacher on students’ lives is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ms McLachlan said of her win.

“Public high school teachers in NSW are already using digital technology. The two other vital ingredients are collaboration and creativity, as teachers serve many important purposes, none more important than sparking joy in learning.”

NSW Department of Education Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance, Murat Dizdar said The Learning Edge has worked to showcase teaching talent from across the state.

“This project spotlights the exceptional work done by secondary school teachers in public schools across NSW and supports strong learning outcomes for students,” he said.

“The five successful teachers are inspiring and committed educators who are positively impacting young lives every day. The calibre of our recipients is of the highest professional order and continues to demonstrate that NSW continues to lead the way in education excellence.”

Ashley Chang, Culture and Trends Manager at YouTube added, “More and more Aussies are coming to YouTube to learn, with educational videos generating hundreds of millions of views. The Learning Edge initiative is an incredible opportunity and we’re really excited to be able to support these five aspiring classroom pioneers who want to use YouTube to share their knowledge with the world.”